To enhance safety and accessibility, mobility aids need to address basic specifications as follows, as required by Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport 2002:
Specifications for Public Transport Friendly Mobility Aids
- Have a total weight including the occupant of less than 300 kg.
- The overall width of the mobility aid needs to be less than 800 mm and less than 750mm up to 300mm above the ground for use on front door entry buses.
- Be able to negotiate a door height of 1400mm
- Fit within an allocated space of 800 mm wide by 1300 mm long
- Have effective braking systems to maintain stability
- Be able to withstand acceleration, braking, cornering and pitching of buses
- Comply with regulations governing the carriage of batteries on public transport
- Turn 180 degrees within an area of 2070 mm by 1540 mm
- Cross a horizontal gap up to 40 mm wide
- Mount a vertical rise (bump) up to 12 mm
- Cross grating gaps up to 13 mm wide and 150 mm long
- Negotiate a 1 in 14 ramp unassisted
- Negotiate a 1 in 8 grade where the ramp is less than 1520 mm
Wheelchairs are essential mobility aids, and are welcomed on board low-floor, accessible buses, subject to some simple safety rules (see below).
Wheelchair users who are able to fold their chairs, and to enter and leave the bus, with or without the aid of a carer will be carried on any of our buses. Bus Operators have the discretion to provide assistance but (other than lowering the bus or extending wheelchair ramp) are not required to help passengers to enter or leave buses.
Electric scooters and similar vehicles are small vehicles and are often used as an alternative to public transport. They are not considered to be essential mobility aids, and are in most cases too heavy and unstable to be carried with safety. Martin’s will only carry scooters with a laden weight of less than 300 kg, and which can be driven onto the bus, and manoeuvred to fit wholly within the allocated wheelchair space under their own power.
Aids and devices not permitted to be carried on buses
Any mobility aid not complying with the specifications for mobility aids listed above. This includes large ride-on-scooters and all three-wheeled ride-on-scooters.
Rules for wheelchairs:
- Occupied wheelchairs will only be carried on low-floor buses with designated accessible spaces. All such buses carry the international accessible transport logo near the bus entry point.
- If a wheelchair user is able to leave the chair and board and leave the bus unaided (or with the help of a friend or carer), travel is permitted on buses which have stepped entry, provided that the wheelchair is folded and stowed so as to avoid impeding, or causing undue inconvenience to, passengers entering and leaving the bus.
- An occupied wheelchair must be placed in the designated space in the bus, must be facing rearwards, brakes on and firmly in contact with the panel or bar behind it. It must not be placed in the aisle or in any other location that interferes with the entry or exit of passengers.
- If a wheelchair user is travelling with a friend or carer, that person should keep a firm hold on the chair.
- If passengers are already seated in the folding seats in the designated accessible space Bus Operators may ask those passengers to move (if other room is available) when a wheelchair user wishes to board a bus. If other room is not available then the bus is deemed to be full and the wheelchair occupant is expected to wait for the following service. If other passengers decline to vacate the wheelchair space, the driver may elect not to continue the trip until the space is cleared. If this (clearing the space) would create a safety risk (e.g. where a passenger already on board has a mobility problem and has to stand), the Bus Operator may decide not to allow the wheelchair user to board the bus. (Beyond this action, the Bus Operator cannot compel other passengers to give up their seats for such a person).
Obligations of the Bus Driver:
- The Bus Drivers' principal task is to ensure that all passengers are taken safely and comfortably to their destinations and that the bus is at all times secure. That requires the Bus Driver to apply these rules, and also to take into account the needs of people who have limited mobility (whether or not they are using an aid), who are frail or have some disability, and those who are using prams and strollers. The Bus Driver can therefore expect (and may ask) that passengers comply with these rules if they are travelling with a mobility aid, pram or stroller.
- Bus Drivers may also ask that passengers not place prams, strollers or wheelchairs (or other items) in such a way as to obstruct the aisle or to interfere with the entry or exit of passengers.
- Because these rules are for the safety and comfort of all passengers, the Bus Driver may ask a passenger who is not prepared to abide by the rules to leave the bus (or may not allow such a passenger to enter the bus). If a passenger who is not complying with these rules refuses such a request, the Bus Driver may decide, in the interests of safety, not to proceed with the journey, and/or to seek assistance via the bus’ two-way radio.
- For safety and security of the bus, Bus Driver should generally not leave the driving seat. Except for extending the accessible ramp, Bus Drivers are not expected to leave the driving seat to assist a passenger to enter or leave the bus, but they have the discretion to do so where they believe that this is safe and reasonable, and where the bus is properly secured.
Obligations of passengers:
- All buses have maximum loading levels (the greatest number of passengers which can be safely carried), and this applies to intending passengers with mobility aids. Bus Operators with a fully loaded bus are not expected to pick up a passenger just because he or she is using an aid of this kind.